Carol Lee Sanchez was a poet, a teacher and activist. You will generally find her work in bookstores under Native American poetry, but stylistically she could best be described as a surrealist. She used to run the poetry readings at the Coffee Galleria in North Beach, San Francisco, and was the first person to put many of the old Beats on stage to read. She was my mentor and my hero, and when I miss her too badly I pull out one of her books and read and find her there.
Carol Lee was Laguna, among other things, and was raised in Laguna territory, with all of those stories and languages and world views. Sanchez was never afraid of complexity and embraced all of her background, all of her languages, and all of her inspirations in a way that I try to bring into my work as well. She found herself in California where she led the Pegasus Project out of San Francisco State University, and into being a more fully formed program called California Poets in the Schools, which puts working poets into classrooms. Her writing, in which she tells her own stories, is available from Taurean Horn Press. Her other work moves forward in every student and mentee she worked with in her long and fruitful career.
-- Kim Shuck